About

red maple

Flowering Red Maple Twig

I’m a Maine Master Naturalist, freelance writer, and education director for a local land trust. My happy moments are spent wandering and wondering in the woods of western Maine. And photographing and sketching what I see. And writing about the experience. And trying to find out the answers. Honestly though, I don’t want to know all of the answers.

For the most part, I just like the wandering and wondering. That’s when I feel most alive. I hope you’ll join me on the journey. Sometimes it will be a little of this and a lot of that. Probably, it will be that way for the most part.

I’ve found I don’t have to wander far to find myself wondering. And maybe along the way I can encourage you to step out your door or out of your comfort zone and do the same.

Just take a look at the flowers on that Red Maple twig above. Have you ever stopped to check them out? To really look at them?

I think it all came clear to me years ago when our oldest son was competing in a Nordic ski race. We’d had a fresh snow storm the day before. After the race he said, “Mom, it’s so beautiful out there. Everyone was going so fast that they missed it.” Yup. That’s what it’s all about.

Join me to wonder as I wander.

41 thoughts on “About

  1. Anticipation is the name of the game … Wondering While Wandering … What’s around the next bend? … as inner and outer worlds find convergence in the complex simplicities in being intentionally attentive to Nature’s Grace… Ahhhh!

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  2. Leigh, Thanks for a wonderful workshop yesterday.Your personality, little logs and tree bark pamphlet made for a great learning experience! Candy

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    1. Candy, Thanks so much for your kind words and for checking out my blog. It’s always fun to spend time with like-minded people. I do wish there had been more time to get outside and see the real thing. Enjoy your next venture in the woods with your bark eyes and I hope our paths cross again. Leigh

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  3. Hi Leigh, I’m promoting a talk by Dorcas Miller for Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition. Would it be possible to use your photo of Dorcas with the bear claw shawl (with photo credit to you of course) to illustrate her presentation on our website and in local papers? Thanks in advance, Alice Seeger

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  4. Thanks so much for the detailed and positive review of my book, A Beginner’s Guide to Recognizing Trees. It sounds like it would be great to take a hike with you. I really appreciate the good press. –mm

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    1. Mark, Thank YOU so much for taking the time to read this and comment. I think A Beginner’s Guide to Recognizing Trees is a fabulous addition to my book shelf and back pack. In fact, I’m on the board of the Maine Master Naturalist Program and asked our curriculum coordinator to review it. If it doesn’t become one of our text books, it should at least be on our recommended reading list. Well done, indeed. Oh, and if you’re ever in western Maine–give a shout. LMH

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  5. Leigh, thanks very much for leading the USVLT hike in Denmark yesterday. My wife talked (browbeat) me into signing up for it. I expected a group of short, aged, round people fawning over every bush and track. The group was anything but. Despite my poor efforts at humor, your observations and information about the plants and animals was fascinating. I look forward to hiking with you again. One suggestion, though. Arrange for either an ice cream truck or hot dog stand at the turn around point. 😁 Thanks again. Don Gemmecke

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    1. Don, thanks for adding humorous observations to the walk. I equally enjoyed the journey and meeting new people. How ’bout a pub at the turn around point next time! Oh, and thanks for stopping by to check out my blog. Happy trails until we meet again, Leigh

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  6. Hello Leigh,

    I stumbled across your blog looking for info on squirrel middens. I teach kindergarten in a public charter school in Gray, Maine. We wonder and wander in our local forest. I wondered if you ever do school programs or would be willing to do so?

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    1. That would be fun, fiddleheadkindergarten. I actually run an after-school program in Lovell for 6-10 year olds. Please send me an e-mail separate from my blog. Even if I can’t do it, I can probably find someone else.

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  7. Thanks for this. I love when someone chimes in and teaches me something. I’ll try to make the corrections, but also remember the differences going forward. As I tell folks, when I’m alone I’m 100% correct; but I know better! Thanks again for taking time to read and to comment and to teach.

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  8. Hi Leigh, Hope you don’t mind me chucking in a comment here on “Matter of Nature”. I was surprised to see what we call ‘copper stain fungus’ (Chlorociborea aeruginea – copper stain, stained wood and blue-green ascocarps – excerpt from a species list made at Nelson Lakes National Park in 1994). Here in NZ it seems to be only associated with our evergreen, southern beech (Nothofagus). So I’m curious to know if you have beech (Fagus) in your woods and if your blue stain is at least the same genus, if it’s a hassle not to worry.
    Wordpress, threw up your blog today, glad I stopped, nice photos, interesting stories.

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    1. Hi G, Thanks for stopping by. Interesting that your common name is copper stain. Common names here include green stain, blue stain, blue-green stain and blue-green wood stain. Some call it an elf cup or emerald elf cup. Thus the need to use scientific names, but I fear I’d lose most of my audience if I did that. Yes, the fungus is the same genus: Chlorociboria aeruginascens and its close relative, Chlorociboria aeruginosa are common. The fruiting bodies, however, aren’t as common and a treat to discover. We have American Beech (Fagus grandifolia) here in New England, but this fungi grows on both hardwoods and conifers. And we have a lot of species of both of those. Thanks for asking and I hope you’ll stop by again. L

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      1. Thanks for the reply Leigh, funny how the species names are all so similar. Interesting too that they grow on a range of hardwoods where you are, most of our pines and hardwoods are from tropical families which might be the difference. Anyway thanks again, enjoying getting a taste of New England wildernessish and wildlife in addition to Peter Follansbee’s bird observations at Plymouth.

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  9. I just found an article that you wrote about the Bob Dunning Memorial Bridge. Inn at you reference a PowerPoint that you did on bark. I could not find it but would love to see it.

    The article also mentioned that there should be a pamphlet at the park telling about the bark but there was not one available. It is too bad that people went through all the work to put all those different kinds of bark up there and people might not even notice it! Really appreciated your article we read it piece by piece of the walk across the bridge

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  10. Hi Leigh,
    I’m 2 months behind on your posts and just read ‘A layered life’ 0ct 5th. Nice to see some different kettleholes with some that dry up. Here in Canterbury downunder, many of our shallow ones are ‘ephemeral wetlands’. If you’re interested (and have the time) this post of mine touches on them and their wider landscape.
    Cheers
    Graeme
    graemeu.wordpress.com/2017/02/27/best-office-day-ill-have-this-year/

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  11. Leigh Just thought I would let you know that the Onset Hotel was actually right on the beach. We were there the night it burnt down.it was devastating! It was some time around early to mid 60’s. It was big news, so I am sure you can find it in the newspaper archives. It was just a few houses down from the Yacht Club, dead center between that and Independence Point and across from the Wicket Island. Hope this helps!

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      1. I contacted a friend who said the hotel on the beach was pine tree inn I remembered it as onset hotel! I’m sorry! You should check the 1963-2965 news for sure! No we are not aquatinted I just happened on your lovely blog!

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  12. Hi Leigh, My dear hiking partner Bob Groschner told me about you and how truly Amazing you are. He is right! I love your fotos and so enjoy your detailed writings of your adventures and discoveries! Thank you for sharing.
    Hope to meet you one day. Elaine

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  13. Hi, I’m hoping to take a school group to visit a vernal pool at Bradbury. Can you point me to where I can locate one, and how far a hike from the trailhead might we find one? Thanks! Fai

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    1. To be honest, that March 2019 visit was the only one we’ve made. And I wasn’t able to confirm that it was an actual vernal pool; it just had the looks of one prior to the season. If you head along the trail where the cattle pound is located, I suspect you’ll discover it. Go soon, and the wruck, wrucks of the wood frogs will lead you to it. Good luck.

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  14. falling further and further behind in my reading (April 25) nice to see two, for me, noxious weeds in their natural state. Coltsfoot has been subject to an eradication campaign in Arthur’s Pass National Park for around 30 years but proves intransigent. Meanwhile polypody, the vulgare species, plods north and south of Christchurch trampling underfoot the ferns and herbs of banks and crags. Always good to be reminded there’s a place where they belong.

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  15. Thanks Leigh, 8 of those (11 if you count near relatives) are also problems here but most don’t make it onto invasive plant lists, let alone get managed. Our government bodies tend to focus on economic (farm) weeds. But then there are approximately 1000 indigenous vascular plants vs 2000 naturalised. Robinia is a surprise, for some reason I thought it was indigenous to the Eastern USA. Here it makes interesting fence posts for organic farms, and hasn’t developed distance dispersal so doesn’t get far from where it’s planted.

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